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Jason is the Complete Package

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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For all that he has accomplished, Jonathan Jason's top achievement might be understanding the responsibility that comes with his position.

Everywhere I go, people are looking up to me and...it’s not hard work. Just do the right things.
~Jonathan Jason

Halfway down the Georgia coast, one of the top young linebackers in the state is coming into his own. Jonathan Jason, a mike-defender for McIntosh County Academy in Darien, stands a chiseled 6'2'', 200 pounds; he is a high school freshman. Playing at the alma mater of Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey, Jason is following a similar track of impressing coaches early in his playing career. He has done so in more ways than one.

Jason, on the football field, played with the poise of a veteran this past fall. He compiled 78 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks and an interception for the Buccaneers, also scoring three touchdowns as a fullback in goaline situations. Just a rookie, Jason earned more responsibility from the coaching staff as the season progressed and became a defensive standout on a team known for an attacking style of play. That end result, most around the program believe, is just the beginning.

"I'm aggressive on defense when the ball is in the air and I feel I'm good at hitting the hole," Jason stated.

Perhaps the biggest impact, for one of southeast Georgia's true rising stars, has come around campus. Jason currently carries a 4.0 grade point average as he has made an obvious commitment to his academic studies. Others, both students and teachers, are taking note. Recently, one of the greatest players in college football history shared with Jason a very similar sentiment.

"Adrian Peterson from Georgia Southern came to my school and talked about priorities, and I have always felt that," Jason explained. "I have lost focus before, like when I got hurt, but I have worked hard, caught back up and made it. Grades come first."  

Strong and straightforward, Jason's work in the classroom hasn't just been limited to scholastic success. A recent dispute-turned-disruption between students sent math period way off course; Jason put an end to the scuffle, calmed down his classmates and promptly turned everyone's attention back to their studies. A grateful teacher later called the football office to share her thanks.       

"A fight broke out and I had to calm it down. I thought things were going to escalate to me," he recalled.

From his work at school to challenging new experiences, the Explosive Southern Pigskin Series, Waycross edition, was Jason's official introduction to the training circuit. He showed great athletic upside throughout, drawing praise from coaches and spectators alike. Jason was apart of a McIntosh County Academy contingency, also featuring "Top Defensive Line Performer" Matthew Neiport, that was quite impressive.  

"This was my first time at a camp," Jason nodded. "I had heard all of the stories and this let me meet many new people and helped me exchange knowledge with them."

With the start of the 2014 high school football season roughly five months away, Jason is one of the prospects many around the region will be watching. He just completed one of the most impressive freshman campaigns in program history, has prototypical football measurables and appears ready to incorporate the subtle nuaces that come with experience into his game. For all that he has accomplished, however, Jason's top achievement might be simply understanding the responsibility that comes with his position.   

"Younger kids, even older folks, look up to me as a leader on the field and in the classroom," he acknowledged. "Everywhere I go, people are looking up to me and...it’s not hard work. Just do the right things."

A rare physical talent, Jason has the perspective and persistence to match. He's changing games and changing opinions, and he's just barely underway.  

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports